Working group focuses on shellfish future
Stakeholders in the shellfish industries of England, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Channel Islands have formed a working group to define a strategy aimed at promoting a sustainable and profitable future for the sector.
The group, headed up by Seafish and primarily focused on pot fisheries for crab, lobster and whelk, will work with fisheries scientists and government to address concerns that the industry is not getting the political and management priority it deserves.
The sector faces challenges such as displacement of fishing effort from other sectors into the shellfish sector which some feel may push shellfisheries into a downward slope of the effort/yield curve. Additionally, volatile markets and uncertainty around Brexit are driving change within the sector as is rapid technological development.
During the inaugural meeting, there was discussion of these issues and more. Although there was no consensus on the route forward, there was unanimity that all options should be examined and evidence-based solutions sought.
It was agreed that the group’s first step should be to conduct an overview with the pros and cons of each management option identified and a further meeting in February was agreed. The NFFO Shellfish Committee has facilitated the group's launch but whilst NFFO members will continue to play a central role, the group will steer its own course.
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